My Love Affair with Mourning Doves on the Florida Suncoast
They nest, they hatch, they eat and before you know it, they’re gone! That is why I have a love affair with Mourning Doves on the Florida Suncoast, here today, gone tomorrow! That is the life of a Mourning Dove. They are named for their haunting and sad cooing sound. Sometimes their call is mistaken for the call of an owl. When they fly, it’s wings make a whistling sound. (from Google)
Mourning Doves Habits & Misfortunes
At least 3 times a year these birds nest in the same hanging plant on my porch. I would say that over years I have seen at least 20 hatchings. The nest is quite crude with small twigs and they appear to use the same nest over and over. Very little housekeeping is done! Sometimes I wonder, is it the same set of parents who set up house?! With Mourning Doves, you never know. They are so prevalent on the Florida Suncoast!
Over the years I have learned to watch their habits and misfortune. There have been several times that unfortunately mother nature is cruel and I wake up to see an empty nest. I figured out that the local felines have a keen sense of smell and the babies are easy pickings. That happened about 4 weeks ago. And what happened? The very next day after the babies were gone, another set of parents nested, and eggs were in my planter 3 days later! It’s amazing.
This time I was determined to pay as close attention as I could. There was no way that I was going to let these babies get exposed. There are always 2 eggs in the nest. Well about 12 days after the eggs were laid, the babies hatched. While I could not see them, I knew they were there because mama (or papa) was all puffed up!
This Cycle Comes to an End
The Mourning Dove babies hung out with mama and papa for about 9 days. They were getting too big for the next. They started flapping their wings, and then as I watched, both babies flew the coop! It was a practice session with mama and papa close by! They flew back into the nest after about an hour. It was absolutely amazing! Well, they stayed the night, and the next day (while I watched), the entire family left the nest, never to return. I have to admit, I was a bit teary-eyed.
Not to fret. Wouldn’t you know it two days later another mama and papa built a nest, and another family will be started. I love the whole nature thing. Maybe it’s my old age, but I don’t care. I find it simply amazing to watch.
Love bird watching? Check out Suncoast Post story about Eagles, The Eagle Has Landed.
Photos from Sande Caplin